News & Views
Space Mission Instruments send Images of the Sun
Aug 04 2020
The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Solar Orbiter space mission to study the sun has sent back its first set of images to Earth, including those from an instrument built by the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) RAL Space.
The images from RAL Space’s Spectral Investigation of the Coronal Environment (SPICE) instrument, alongside measurements from Solar Orbiter’s 9 other instruments, show that they are already observing unknown phenomena and are ready for further scientific observations as it travels closer to the Sun and images the poles for the first time.
Dr Andrzej Fludra, the SPICE Instrument Consortium lead and a Co-Principal Investigator from RAL Space said:
"We are delighted to see the first spectra and images from SPICE. They promise to solve the outstanding questions about the dynamic processes and composition of the Sun’s atmosphere. Spectroscopy is a powerful tool for the diagnostic of fundamental processes in hot plasmas. Each spectral line gives us a piece of the puzzle - combining information from all lines reveals the amazing complexity of the atmosphere."
This first glimpse of data from SPICE will help unravel the mysteries of the origin of the solar wind by giving researchers measurements of the temperature, composition and speed of plasma flowing out from the Sun's atmosphere.
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